For a mechanic, handyman, or anyone who loves to engage in DIYs, the best tap and die set is an essential tool. It comes in handy when you have a job that involves nuts and bolts. A tap can be used to form or cut the nut element, while a die can be used to form or cut the bolt element.
This process of forming or cutting threads with a tap is known as tapping, while the same process with a die is called threading. For this process to be successful, you need to ensure that you have the right tap and die kit. However, with so many types in the market, which one is the best to buy?
To help you find the best one for you, we have curated reviews of the five best tap and die sets, their pros and cons, as well as a number of factors you need to consider before buying a tap and die set.
5 Best Tap and Die Sets
1. EFFICERE Essential 40-Piece Tap and Die Set - Metric Sizes
- PREMIUM MATERIAL AND DURABILITY: Industrial grade GCr15 bearing...
- EXCELLENT CUTTING PERFORMANCE: All cutting teeth are precisely...
- TAPERED TEETH DESIGN: Tapered coarse and fine taps and dies start...
- ALL-INCLUDED SET: This kit comes with a full range of most...
- VERSATILITY AND WIDE APPLICATION: Perfect to create new threads...
The EFFICERE 40-Piece Tap and Die Set have tools made from a premium steel alloy, making them strong. They feature precision machined teeth that have been well treated with Rockwell 60 HRC to ensure good quality threading. Moreover, it comes with a durable and strong carry case with pockets for each tool.
This is a great set when it comes to designing new bolts and nuts as well as repair the damaged threads. The tap and dies can cut most metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and carbon steel. In addition, it comes with more than enough tools to get you started on your project.
It is an ideal choice for light to medium tap and dies applications. You can use this set for threading applications in the garage and home. They also come in handy for watchmakers, gunsmiths, and jewelers who work with different types of aluminum and steel.
2. GEARWRENCH 114 Piece Ratcheting Tap and Die Set
- Ratcheting T handles wind Dies with a 5° swing arc and have a...
- Twist lock guide system reduces the “walk back” of the die...
- Die adapters work on round and hex shaped Dies
- Die adapters work with the 3/8inch Drive pass thru ratchet and...
- Auto locking feature allow the tap adapters to be removed safely
If you're looking for a high carbon steel solution that will cover most of the tap and die jobs you have, then you will definitely love the Gearwrench 114 Piece Ratcheting Tap and Die Set. It features a ratcheting arc using a reversible lever as the hand turning option. This makes it more efficient in producing faster results.
An outstanding feature of this set is the patented Twist Lock guide system designed to reduce the struggles of the die guide and help you keep the die at the center while cutting your threads. It also comes with other handy features like the multiple extension adaptors that help you get to those tricky spaces or hard-to-reach areas.
The length of this tap and die setup can be adjusted by combing any 38 drive extension with adaptors. It can work with both round and hex-shaped dies and comes with tap holders that will tilt down for easier access. Moreover, it includes an amazing storage case for easier organization.
3. Craftsman 75 pc Tap and Die Set Inch & Metric
- Combines inch and metric sizes in 1 convenient kit
- Set includes: 7 drive tools with accessories, 17 inch plug taps,...
- Hardened, precision-ground and polished carbon steel surfaces...
- Hex-shaped dies permit use of sockets and wrenches as well as die...
- Rust-resistant satin finish for smooth cuts with less friction
The Craftsman 75 pc Inch & Metric Tap and Die Set feature polished carbon steel, precise and hardened tools. In addition, every piece has been coated with a rust-resistant satin finish. This will increase the anti-corrosive ability of the tools and ensure smooth thread cuts with less friction.
This 75 piece selection comes with both SAE and metric size. The hex-shaped dies will enable the use of wrenches, sockets, and die stocks. It helps you work on damaged bolts, nuts, and threads by helping you to remove the imperfections on threads when a replacement bolt is hard to find.
The storage case is also sturdy enough with a handle. With this set, you're well covered no matter the cut and die task you're planning to take. If you're looking for a versatile tap and die option that comes at an affordable price, then you should get the Craftsman 75 pc Inch & Metric Tap and Die Set.
4. IRWIN 117 Piece Tap And Die Set
- Ideal for rethreading fasteners and fastener holes for auto and...
- Constructed of high carbon steel for durability
- Puts commonly needed taps, dies, drill bits, and extractors at...
- Perfect set for the professional craftsman
- Contains 117 of the most commonly needed machine screw plug tap...
The Irwin 117 Piece Tap And Die Set is one of the fractional sets that offer great value for money. It is made from high carbon steel (HSS) that is durable and well built for long-lasting use. In addition, it is a nice-sized set that offers you plenty of sizing options to choose from, allowing you to get the job done with ease.
It comes with a tough and durable case that features a tool compartment that makes it easy to carry and work with the tools. This case helps you to organize every bit into its own sleeve neatly. The set comes with some parts like spiral screws extractors, adjustable tap wrenches, and drill bits.
This high-quality tap and die set has been designed for maintenance work, repair, and making brand new threads. The tools can also work on a wide variety of materials that include stainless steel. It is made to provide durability and accuracy to meet the high demands of threading applications.
5. TEKTON Tap and Die Set, 45-Piece (Inch)
- Hardened tungsten alloy high speed steel construction
- Cut new material or chase lightly damaged threads
- 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-flute plug taps and dies for hand threading...
- Tapered coarse and fine taps start easily and prevent...
- Storage case keeps everything neat and organized
The Tekton Tap and Die Set, 45-Piece (Inch), is another great option that is definitely worth your money. It features an extra-strength of high-speed steel (HSS), and with this set, you get quality over quantity. It comes with only 45 pieces that are specifically designed for those hand threading applications.
The level of strength of this set is unmatched and quite impressive. It is made from a tungsten alloy HSS to allow it to cut stainless steel, carb, alloy steel, bronze, aluminum, cast iron, and much more. It has a heavy-duty carry case to help you carry and organize the 45 pieces that come with the set.
This set contains a 1 x 1-inch t-handle tap wrench, t-handle die stock, 1 x ¼ inch t-handle Tap Wrench, 1 x ½ inch die stock adapter, screwdriver, 20 taps, and 20 split dies. It is great for cutting new threads and bolts, and with the correct lubrication, it can also repair damaged nuts and bolts.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Tap and Die Set
1. Types of Taps and Dies
The tap is the part that creates the nut portion and are long metal shafts that have a fluted edge. The different types of taps include;
- Taper Tap- It looks like a screw and is used to determine the size of the thread.
- Bottoming Tap- It is similar to taper tap, but you can only the first six threads. Moreover, it has a more tapering head because it is used to deepen thread.
- Plug Taps-This is used to polish the thread to get ready for the bolt.
On the other hand, here are some types of dies;
- Circular Die- It is used for threading in a clockwise direction and a single motion. It is the easiest to use since it doesn't have a lot of adjustments.
- Two-piece Adjustable Die Wrench-It is used for easy adjustments of custom threads
- Die Nut- Sharpens and refines an existing thread and is not used to make new threads.
The build quality of the tap and die sets is one of the most important factors to consider when buying one. The various components in the set should be strong enough to withstand day-to-day use. For this reason, you need to select sets that are made from highly durable material. However, the level of quality is dependent on your needs.
Different sets may come denominated either according to the Metric, which is based on European sizing or according to SAE sizing based on U.S. sizes. Ensure that your set is dominated in the right way because if it is not, you won't be able to correctly fit the holes and threads to your bolts and nuts. A set with both the Metric and SAE compatibility is recommended.
4. High-Speed Steel or Carbon Steel
The steel type used can determine the quality and durability of the tool. There two choices of steel when it comes to the best tap and dies set in the market today; High carbon steel and speed steel. While HSS tends to be better in professional workshops and industrial settings, the high carbon steel sets should not be ignored.
This is because they are a great choice when it comes to doing repairs because they are quite affordable. It means that the carbon steel sets are also more reliable to chase threads instead of cutting new ones. HSS taps, on the other hand, remain sharper for longer and are easier to use. The choice between the two is determined by the kind of work you're planning to do and the budget.
5. Number of Parts
A tap and die set will provide you with more versatility enabling you to do a diverse and wide range of projects. However, it is important to ensure that the quantity is balanced with quality. Some sets may come with so many pieces, but the quality is not the best.
When it comes to tap and die sets, it should be quality over quantity. The relation of the number of parts and the price will vary because one set can either be expensive because of more parts or higher quality parts. Always keep an eye on the quality before choosing the parts or set you to want.
You want to ensure you go for a case with a sturdy and reliable case at all times. This is to ensure that the tools are well protected so that they can last as long as possible. A case also helps you with the organization and storage of each of the tools. While some cases are made of durable plastic case materials, the metal ones tend to be more durable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Tap and Die Sets
1. Who makes the best tap and die set?
Many companies make great tap and die sets, but our favorite is Efficiere, with the best set being the Efficiere 40-Piece Tap and Die Set. This set is made from a premium steel alloy which makes them strong and features precision-machined teeth that have been well treated with Rockwell 60 HRC to ensure good quality threading. It also comes with a durable and strong carry case with pockets for each tool.
2. Are tungsten taps and dies any good?
If you get a tungsten set of taps and dies from a good manufacturer, they will make work easier since they offer strong performance. Furthermore, their teeth tend to be very sharp for easier and faster cutting. Therefore, they are considered great options for all normal uses or lighter uses and can last for a good number of years.